a Cross Country Rider
from Boulder CO
Date Reviewed: July 29, 2004
Strengths: Simple construction Inexpensive- now that the company folded Light
Weaknesses: Requires some basic mechanical skills to get them to work well
I've been using real hubs for about 4 years now. I'll admit they aren't flawless out of the box but it doesn't take much to get them working properly. I've used mainly the front hubs (King rear) but have 2 sets of cross wheels built exclusively with Real hubs. I fixed the spacer issue with the freehub on both and have never had problems with ghost shifting.
Bottom line: work flawless if you put some time into them. Can't beat the close-out deals.
Similar Products Used: Chris King, Hope, Oynx, Shimano
Bike Setup: Maverick
a Cross Country Rider
from NY, NY USA
Date Reviewed: November 8, 2003
Strengths: Lightweight, front hub works as it's supposed to. cheap.
Weaknesses: Rear hub is terrible. play in free hub. cant be fixed. ghost shifts, inconsistent shifting. Totally useless. returning and buying different ones.
I bought these for pretty cheap from cambria...about 170 after a faster method of shipping. The real disc hubs came with mavic 223 disc only rims. Rims are weak. 2 hard rides, cross country type stuff and both times major truing required. rear hub made a horrible creaking noise first time out. 2nd time out shifting degraded and i noticed major play in the cassette. tightened lock. didnt help. took to shop and they said it's trash and cant be fixed. don't buy these even if you think they are cheap and worth a shot because they are a lot lighter than XT disc hubs!!! they are terrible!
a Weekend Warrior
from Liberty Lake, WA
Date Reviewed: July 31, 2003
Strengths: Light weight, cheap
Weaknesses: The grease was 'hard' in the bearings. It looked like a hot glue gun was used to apply a thin ribbon of grease, none of which had worked its way into the balls. Rode them for 150 miles, and they never realy seamed to break in, so I rebuilt them.
After greasing the bearings, have not had a problem in over 1,500 miles. Nearly as light as the CK hubs, look the same, and cost 1/4 as much. Considering that I only ride on the road, I like them.
Bike Setup: Built them around a set of Open Pro rims for my road bike
Date Reviewed: April 14, 2003
Strengths: not a f'ing thing
Weaknesses: freehub body has more play than duece bigelow, causing many a ghost shifts leading to more than enough bailouts trying to torque out of turns.
i know, i know, my fault for trying originally trying to run this cheap rear hub on my bucket. at least i didn't get taken for the retail price on this thing. freehub had play straight out of the box, but thought i could fix it. first i installed an extra spacer that i fabricated. initally worked fine, then the internal gearing on the inside of the hub just stripped out like plastic, locking up the freehub and pulling the chain around ripping off the rear derailleur and taking out it's share of spokes with it(try to figure out how to fix that) less than a month old!!!! stay away from this product. moral of this story - YOU GET EXACTLY WHAT YOU PAY FOR. so fork over a few more bucks for a real (not - real designs) hub.
a Cross Country Rider
from San Anselmo, CA USA
Date Reviewed: November 23, 2002
Update to previous post a few down here.
I recently removed the thin shim/washer I sandwiched with the Teflon washer just inside the free hub. Perhaps the axle cylinder spacers (tubes) have broken in and the shim I used isn't needed now. So I don't recommend machining or filing the axle/freehub cylinder spacer (tube) any more. If you have side to side play just use a thin washer/ shim (I cut one out of a Coors aluminum beer can, that's how thin it was. And it didn’t wear noticeably while I had it in).
Also like I said in my review below check that the bearings in the freehub are centered properly, my inside freehub bearing was loose and I needed to press it to the inside position, flush to the edge (seems like a poor design, not having a fixed a seat). It came loose again after a couple months and I had to do it again. I may have loosened out of posision possibly due to an overly tight chain problem that I discovered I had in the big/big gears when suspension cycled to lengthen the chain stay. Hopefully that bearing will stay put now that I've lengthened the chain to not bind the hub and other bearings (BB and suspension bearings).
Seems like a very good (tight, free spinning, and quiet) hub when everything is broken in, I just wonder how difficult it will be to find the correct bearings when they need replacing.
Bike Setup: Tracer, coils in x-fly 100, Vanilla-R, XTR 8-speed, Sram/Sachs chain, RaceFace ISIS Turbine, Avid disc, x3.1 Mavic rims, various 2.3 - 2.4 tubed tires
from Tysons Corner, Va
Date Reviewed: November 2, 2002
Strengths: Havnt used it YET. ( There isnt a 'not yet' field for length of use ).
Good Looks: They are Black, have nice lettering, The hub body appears to be stout.
I have yet to hear anything bad abou them from fellow mtnbikers. Granted I havnt seen many bikers riding them. Being an anti conformist by nature, I must use what others are not. So I decided to give them a try.
Weaknesses: FRONT: None that I know of yet. I wish it had a 9mm skewer like my ritchey hub, and a larger axle.
REAR: I am going to take a close look at freeplay in the freehub body when they arrive.
I thought these hubs seemed like a decent value. I hope they hold up to freeride abuse. I have hammered an old set of shimano LX hubs for years and they are still smooth (!!). So I think that if I pay close attention to the issues listed by other reviewers I should get decent service life from these hubs.
Favorite Trail: anything fast without slow moving obstacles, you know who you are....
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: online
Similar Products Used: Shimano xt HUBS, Ritchey hubs, Hadley hubs, GT hubs. all similar in physical appearance. Have had excellent service from them all.
Bike Setup: GT avalanche set up for freeriding, MRP and 100mmfork, and a Team DHi, xvert, XTR, hayes. I use for downhill and freeride. I have another GT hardtail I use for cross country. No need to run off product names.
a Cross Country Rider
from Atlanta, ga
Date Reviewed: October 1, 2002
Strengths: I bought a disc wheelset with these hubs and Mavic wheels for $158 .
Weaknesses: Cartridge bearings in the front are a little weak .
Replace the bearings with Phil Wood spec'ed bearings . The stock bearings lasted a year up front . As for the rear hub don't sand the sleeve till it works . It may work but it won't be right . Take it to a machinist and have them cut it square on a lathe . The machinist can mike it all up and get it right . Keep the ratchet full of grease and it will stay quiet . Once the freeplay is right and the bearings are replaced with Phil wood bearings the hubs should last a long time . 4 chillies for value , 3 chillies due to the quality control problems tht make taking them to a machinist sometimes nessassary.
a Cross Country Rider
from San Anselmo, CA
Date Reviewed: September 19, 2002
Strengths: Looks, quick engagement
Weaknesses: stock rear hub freebody slop (fix described below)
Unless you are mechanically minded, better not buy these rear hubs. Cambria gave me no warning about the defect (probably the sales guy didn't know, and I knew I was taking a risk but remember hearing good things in past years about the Real hubs). Otherwise they ride very well with quick engagement and are easy to work on.
I too bought some close out Real hubs from Cambira (under $100 for front and rear) and just started riding on them. And noticed after this post's heads up about the rear hub that my cassette freebody was a bit loose (I was wondering why my rear shifting was sketchy the last ride).
Well the problem is there is an axle sleeve that isolates the freebody that is shimmed on both ends by a Teflon washers. Either one of the washers is too thin by 1 mm or the axle sleeve is too long by that 1mm amount. The best fix would be to file or grind the axle sleeve length down 1mm (which I may do later if my cob fix doesn't last).
I cobbed a fix by cutting out a shim spacer out of an aluminum soda can the same diameter as the inner Teflon shim, and stacking my shim with the stock Teflon shim. This tightened up the freewheel side to side play and it still turns rather freely. But my shim may wear out, so I plan to check it after a few rides.
Also be sure the freewheel bearings are seated (the inner bearing was floating loose in mine). I tapped it carefully with a punch bar into place flush to the inside plane surface of the freewheel assembly.
This is a follow up to my post earlier. I too developed slop in my rear hub. I pulled them apart, put them back together, etc, and nothing worked. I ended up buying a new hub and then taking this one to the Cambria Bike Store in Redondo. The mechanic said that one of the nylon washers was missing from inside. He added one in there, tightened it up and now I'm going to rebuild it and try it on my wife's bike. We'll see. I am not too pleased with it at the moment, but am glad it seems to be fixed. I sure was bummed when I discovered the play in it. I think there's a reason Real went under...
from Batesville, IN
Date Reviewed: September 24, 2001
Strengths: This is a follow-up review thanks to the help of reviewer Tom Vial. I believe his fix was the answer I couldnt find. Thanks Tom!! I think I can get my use out of them now!!
Weaknesses: Front hub has none that I can find. I still think the freehub is suseptible to mud contamination too easily.
This is a follow-up review to one I wrote earlier. I want to thank Tom for Emailing me with his ideas for repairing the free play in the rear hub. I measure the amount of play in my hub and then machined the steel sleeve down by that exact amount in a lathe. It now has .09mm of free play. PERFECT!!!! I still think people should be mindful of the fact that items such as seals, sleeves, freehub bodies are no longer available before buying. with that in mind and to be fair I am giving a higher rating than before to offset my previous rating. If you are having freehub float problems, Tom's idea is the ticket!!
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 14, 2001
Strengths: Light, cheap, ratchet ingages quickly . Front has been perfect. Rear has only had minor problem with a torn rubber seal .
Weaknesses: need to carefully assemble to remover the play on the freehub.
Like the reviewer below I had similar probs with the freehub slack after dissassembly. I suspected the same problem - the steel sleeve was too long and was just about to get out the sandpaper. However I carefully examined the steel sleeve which goes around the spindle and I noticed that the ends were slightly different. One end is machined flat while the edge of the other end is slightly concave/bevelled. If you install the concave end in first , there is negligible slack as the sleeve sits in slightly further.
The manual or / web site should say something bout this.
a Cross Country Rider
from Bay area, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: August 25, 2001
Strengths: light, sometimes inexpensive
Weaknesses: rear has huge reliability issues
OK, first lets seperate the discussion into Front and Rear.
I've ridden a Real front hub for nearly 3 years, including mutiple brutal trips to Moab, Fruita, Bend, and Downieville. I've never had any problems, the hub and bearings still spin nicely. For such a lightweight hub, I'm really happy.
Now for the rear. I bought a Real disc rear hub for $10 at a swap. The bearings were trashed. I hoped I could save the hub, and so far I think I have. For those of you out there that already own a Real rear hub, maybe you can salvage some life. First of all, like the review below notes, my hub had outrageous amounts of side-to-side play in the freehub cassette body. You can grab the splined freehub and literally slide it back and forth by 1 mm or more. Secondly, there is no means of adjusting preload on the bearings. If I assembled the hub to the torque settings on the Real website, the bearings would nearly seize up. To fix the preload issue, I just tightened the axle caps to minimal torque, just shy of where bearing tightness occured. This seems to have worked thus far. Next, the freehub play. I disassembled the hub and removed the stainless steel cylinder which the freehub needle bearings run against. This cylinder is essentially too long -- this causes the play. Real probably got a bunch of off-spec cylinders, and never noticed or never cared (or god forbid, their designers suck so bad that they actually spec'd it wrong). So *carefully* using sandpaper, I sanded one end of the cylinder, then reassembled to check play, then sanded again, then reassmebled ... after about 5 or 6 iterations I was able to shorten the cylinder by about 1 mm, and there was just the slightest hint of freehub play when reassembled. At his point I've got 50 miles on the hubs and they seem to be working perfectly. No ghost shifts, bearings running nicely.
I also swapped the old bearings for Phil Wood bearings, which are available in the exact same size. So now I have a disc rear hub which is just slightly heavier than King, runs as smooth as Phil Wood, and (I hope) will be reasonably reliable.
Bottom line -- don't be afraid of using the front hubs, but stay away from the rear ones unless you already own one or you've got patience and reasonable technical skill to save it. At a minimum, check for the side-to-side freehub play BEFORE buying.
from Batesville, IN
Date Reviewed: August 23, 2001
Strengths: Neat looks -design was in the right direction but never fully thought out. (My opinion as a professional mech. engineer)Probably why the went under. Laced with d/b spokes and alloy nipples to Mavic x-221 32 hole rims in a 3-cross pattern, they are extremely strong and true!!
Weaknesses: Rear hub is super susceptible to dirt mud and grime more than any other hub I have seen in 25 years of competitive cycling. Cannot eliminate the Floating freehub body problem. Tough luck for me in getting replacement parts. I just spoke with Cambria and REAL is real out of business!!!
For all the world and my deep bag of tricks and fixes I cannot eliminate the side to side float of the freehub(and attached cassette). This freeplay results in ghost shifts which results in oral soil sampling during out of the saddle hammer sessions. I have tried an xt, xtr, and even a Real designs brand cassette. all 9 speed, with the same result. It is not in the cassette. Even with everything as tight as it will go, the problem still exists. This freehub is not a shimano unit bolt to a real hub. Instead it is made in Tiawan as a Hadley knock-off copy. another hub company. I have asked Cambria for help, but the just want me to send the wheel back to them. I am disgusted that they didnt tell me until today that these were never going to be able to be warrantied. They bought out the entire Real warehouse stock and sold it to us consumers for that all mighty dollar. Bottom line is unless you are the guy who bought the Real Designs supply off spares and warranty parts at their bankruptcy auction, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY!!
Similar Products Used: I have either owned, borrowed or demo'ed about everything out there.
Bike Setup: Two Cannondales, A superV and caad4 hardtail. both identical setups all top of line SRAM, xt/xtr and Fatty ultra forks. 24 and 22 pounds respectively.
a Cross Country Rider
from las vega nevada
Date Reviewed: June 22, 2001
OOOOOOEEEEEEE, have we got a kick a** product here. What a shame that we all go like sheep to shimano....The hubs are SWEET, I got the all aluminum model. These things rock. I cant afford bike parts at full price, so Iam constantly looking for stuff on sale. These hub are a GREAT buy for the price, I think they were around 175.00 when company went belly-up. if we wouldnt blindly buy shimano junk and support the guys here in the USA, we would have more choices in products.....OOOOO well, I got mine, hope u got yours.
Bike Setup: k2 carbon fiber, xmo fork - almost everything on this bike is made in the USA !!!!!!
from Long Beach, CA, USA
Date Reviewed: June 18, 2001
I got a great deal on these from Cambria Bicycle Outfitters. I got both hubs for under $100.00. I've been riding them since March. I have had no problems with them. As I tend to tinker quite a bit with my bike, I decided to pull them off and check the bearings to make sure they were well greased. There was a bit of grease on one side of the front hub. The rest of the bearings were pretty much dry. I packed them full of grease, put them back together and they are ready to ride. If you buy these, check to see that there is grease in them. They are nice hubs but they it appears they aren't being put together well. They sure are easy to get into!
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